Hydration: The Key to a Healthy Lifestyle

Hydration: The Key to a Healthy Lifestyle

A water glass with a funky citrus wedge that has red fruit and a blue rind on a teal background

Did you know that at any given time, the human body is made up of 60 - 75% water? Your organs and processes depend on this life-giving fluid to function. Without it, we can experience things like headaches, dry skin, muscle cramps, fatigue, and more. But when it comes to hydration, there are many questions surrounding the topic. 

Today, we’re taking time to talk about the most common questions when it comes to hydration. It’s important to dispel myths and misconceptions so that you can drink exactly what is the most beneficial for you.

Why is Water Important?

Water plays a vital role in human body functions. When it comes to your organs, check out how much of them are made of water.

  • Your liver, skin, and muscles are around 70-75% water.
  • Your lungs and heart are 75 - 80% water.
  • Your brain and kidneys are 80-85% water.
  • Your blood is 50% water.

These numbers are approximate estimates because your body’s water content can be affected by your size, muscle-fat ratio, and even your age!

For example, infants can have much more water content in their bodies (~74%) than adults (~50-75%). 

Keeping this in mind, it’s easy to see why we start feeling sick when we don’t have enough water. Symptoms of mild dehydration can include:

  • Feeling dizzy
  • Feeling tired
  • Sunken eyes
  • Strong-smelling urine that is dark in color
  • Headache

  • Symptoms of dehydration can happen more easily if we’re sick. If we have a fever or diarrhea, these can cause us to experience dehydration. If you’re diabetic, this can also be a cause of dehydration. But sometimes, other factors from our day-to-day life can cause us to become dehydrated such as exercising, staying in the sun too long, drinking alcohol, or taking a diuretic - which includes caffeine!

    Losing water is a natural part of being human. However chronic dehydration long-term can affect how well your kidneys function and even increase the risk of kidney stones. It can also lead to unpleasant symptoms such as constipation and even muscle damage. 

    A glass that says 'Hey drink water more!'

    How to Stay Hydrated

    With all of this in mind, the question becomes what is the best way for our bodies to stay hydrated?

    The general rule is to have eight, eight-ounce glasses of water - also known as the 8x8 rule. This number can vary, of course, depending on your activity level and the climate you live in. But as a general rule of thumb, it’s safe to aim for eight glasses (or 64 ounces of water) a day. 

    For some who find it difficult to remember to drink water, thankfully we live in the digital age. With so many tools at your fingertips, you can set up your devices to remind you to drink water. There are apps designed to remind you when to drink water. Or you can set a timer to remind you when to refill your water.

    If you’re struggling to maintain the habit, there’s a method out there that’s sure to work for you. There are even water bottles with time slots on them to designate when to drink your water. You can even find thirty-day challenges to get in the habit of drinking more water! 

    For those of you who hate drinking plain water, try adding cucumber or lemon for a refreshing twist. 

    The best part is that you may find that you feel clear-headed and ready to conquer your day when you’re properly hydrated. 

    Hydration Myths and FAQs

    When it comes to other drinks, there are lots of questions surrounding how effective they are at hydrating your body. After all, the first ingredient in most beverages is water, right? But just because a beverage contains water, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s going to hydrate you. We’ll briefly cover the most common questions when it comes to hydration and your everyday drinks.

    A woman drinking water out of a rounded glass

    Does Sparkling Water Hydrate You?

    If you’re a fan of sparkling water, you’ll be thrilled to find that your favorite beverage is just as hydrating as still water. Sparkling water is sparkling because it has carbon dioxide added to it, which also makes it slightly more acidic on the pH scale. However, water without added carbonation absorbs faster than sparkling water, so if you’re trying to hydrate fast, keep that in mind. You’re better off drinking water post-exercise before grabbing a sparkling drink.

    But if you find that your preference is drinking sparkling water over regular water? Drink away! You’ll still stay properly hydrated while enjoying your favorite beverage.

    Does Gatorade Hydrate You?

    When it comes to sports drinks, it’s a complicated answer. The short answer is yes, they can hydrate you. However, they may not be the best thing for you.

    Gatorade - and other sports drinks - were designed with athletes in mind. When working out hard in hot conditions, the body tends to lose other nutrients, not just water. If you’ve ever had an especially vigorous workout and noticed a white residue on your clothing afterward, you’re also losing sodium. Sports drinks were designed to replenish other nutrients - including electrolytes - in such conditions.

    But, sports drinks also contain a lot of sugar. Gatorade contains 21g of sugar which is the equivalent of two peanut butter cups! Too much sugar in the diet can have adverse effects, so we say tread lightly with this one. If you anticipate a vigorous, sweaty workout, reach for a sports drink. But don’t use it as a replacement for water. Moderation is key.

    When it comes to hydration, it’s important to keep a healthy balance so that you’re able to feel your best. Make it a habit to keep a timer and a bottle near you. You may be pleasantly surprised to see how much proper hydration can change your life for the better. 

    Hydrate by Clean Program. Quality hydration, no compromises. Try today

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